This week has been dominated by more local + traditonal family activities because it was the Chinese New Year, including a 3-day + weekend public holiday. Kendo only resumes on Sat. I have been back for 3 weeks and yet only started the second practice...! I am very ashamed..
Arriving slightly earlier on Sat, I wait for the adult class to start outside the gym with the rest of the people. Because people here are not used to go and have a drink after class, the only chance to get to chat is before the class, and before everyone head for the changing room when the class finishes.
As I warm myself up, there was a Japanese girl (who sometimes got the translator job) practising kata with a Japanese woman (dunno who). Tanaka-sensei was looking after them.
Seemingly in 2 week's time, there is grading coming up. Also that's the Asian Invitation Tournament weekend, with teams coming from Japan, Taiwan, Beijing, all the way to Thailand and Singapore fighting in friendship matches.
Oda-san talked to me a bit in English and then went on to investigate how to perform an effective kaeshi-do waza with the others. Tanaka-sensei came over and pointed out that our waist should turn and our right foot should step away as soon as the shinai lands on the dou. It's a regular cut down to waist level - only because when we turn to the right, distance changed and therefore we can hit opponent's dou.
During warm-up time, I get slightly more used to the timing of suburi+ fumikomi. Eda-sensei said it'll help us using more lower-body power if we practice this suburi with the weight distribution shifted to 80% left, 20% right. But then, it's harder to have strong fumikomi.
I am starting to think, that this type of exercise without going through after strike, was taught by Masatake Sumi Sensei last Dec when he came to HK for the Asian Zone Referee Seminar... I have done similar things last time at IKET Edinburgh.
For Kirikaeshi, those sayu-men cuts should be treated as individual cuts, i.e. every cut is an Ippon.
It was kihon as usual but with a twist --- Men-kaeshi-dou!! An additional point to note is that the men-block should be more forward and "out", rather than cramping down the hands. Giving yourself space means you are in control of the distance, and prepare for the next cut (dou).
At jikeiko time, both Tanaka and Eda-sensei were looking after the other half (kids) by being motodachi, and therefore we were left to fight against each other. I got the chance to REALLY pick up girls... I mean I walk over to all 3 of my female kohai and said onegaishimas. It was jikeiko a bit, then I made some comments (like my usual line, "don't hit men-gane.." ).
Jikeiko time was short as Tanaka-sensei wants to show people going for shinsa what to be aware. It'll be 2 years before I am going for mine, so I just sit there and do my mitori-keiko... To my surprise, more than 10 people are actually going to get graded from ikkyu to sandan.
There was 1/2 hr kendo kata time in the end. It was again, mainly for the people going for grading, nevertheless I got paired up with Johan (a foreigner shodan with American accent) and went thru kata 1-5 with the rest of the class... I can't do mine smooth as I haven't done any since my Nidan...!! Well, blame the wakaba people who are always doing that bokudo kihon thingy..urgh..
As it was the 4th day of the Chinese New Year, "red pockets" were given out by Eda-sensei.
I have to skip the end-of-practice chatting and hop over to the other side of the harbour for another gathering dinner. This time, with those from the aikido dojo which both my father and younger brother belong to (and I very occationally showed up). Now with a few more married members giving out red pockets :D
This is the FIRST beer-keiko I had in Hong Kong after I've moved back. There was a poor guy who can't drink got forced to down half a glass of red wine and a glass of beer - and he ended up throwing up in the toilet 4 times in a roll, besides being made fun of. With 8 glasses of beer in me, I started to wonder whether my alcohol capatiblity will also go downhill because of lack of practice...
[note: A beer glass in HK is like a 1/2 pint glass..]
Earlier in the week I finally got to read in detail Honda-sensei's Tactics in Kendo II article online.
And I found out the vocab I need to learn is Tokui-waza...
"It is also assumed that practitioners at this level have some Tokui-waza (waza that they are good at and use with confidence to score). In addition to tactics with feint actions, what practitioners at this level are recommended to try is to develop their Ji-geiko with thoughts of when or in what situation they should use their Tokui-waza. Here I would like to ask you to stop reading for a while and think:
2 How long after the start of Ji-geiko or Shiai do you attempt your Tokui-waza?
3 What are the conditions of attempting your Tokui-waza? e.g. distance, timing
I would also like you to think about what type of opponent you think that you can / cannot score by your Tokui-waza. "
Good stuff. That's the reason why I am writing what I am writing now!!